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Soups

Spinach and onion soup with tomato crostini

Spinach and onion soup with tomato crostini

A colourful vegetarian version of classic French onion soup, this makes a filling lunch or light dinner. The secret of the rich flavour lies in frying the onions very slowly until they are well browned, caramelised and sweetly flavoured.

Fish soup with capsicum polenta

Fish soup with capsicum polenta

Good stock provides the flavour base for this delicate broth. When homemade stock is not available, try one of the high–quality commercial stocks rather than a stock cube. The polenta accompaniment is prepared in advance, so the soup is simple to cook at the last minute.

Fresh fruit soup

Fresh fruit soup

Not only is this refreshing soup perfect on sweltering summer days, it could also give you a vitamin boost in winter when you feel slightly under the weather. Made up of a variety of delicious raw fruit and vegetables, it is an easy way to top up on protective nutrients.

Garden of Eden soup

Garden of Eden soup

An assortment of vegetables cooked in tomato juice and stock makes a simple, satisfying soup that tastes terrific. For this recipe you can take advantage of frozen vegetables, such as broccoli, beans and peas. They cut down on preparation time, and are just as nutritious as fresh vegetables.

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Golden lentil soup

Golden lentil soup

This velvety smooth soup owes its rich colour to a combination of lentils, parsnips and carrots. With dry sherry and a horseradish–flavoured cream adding to the flavour, it is a perfect first course for a dinner party. Serve it with crunchy Melba toast or oatcakes.

Hearty mussel soup

Hearty mussel soup

This soup tastes fabulous – the diced potatoes absorb the flavours from the herbs and vegetables to make a mellow complement to the mussels. Warm bread is an ideal partner, delicious for dunking and mopping up the last of the soup.

Herb-scented ham and pea soup

Herb-scented ham and pea soup

A hint of cream makes this fresh green soup seem delightfully indulgent. The high proportion of peas fills the soup with vitamins and fibre, while a modest amount of lean cooked ham adds protein and depth of flavour. Serve with crusty bread for a satisfying starter.

Iced melon and berry soup

Iced melon and berry soup

Choose a perfectly ripe and sweet honeydew melon for this pretty soup. Serve the soup as a refreshing first course when the weather is hot, dressing up each bowlful with a swirl of berry purée and some whole berries.

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Chilled leek and avocado soup

Chilled leek and avocado soup

Coriander and lime juice accentuate the delicate avocado flavour in this refreshing soup. It is simple yet interesting, and ideal for a summer's dinner–party first course or a light lunch. Do not add the avocado too soon – not only will it discolour, but its flavour will mellow and lose the vital freshness.

Chunky mulligatawny

Chunky mulligatawny

This lightly spiced soup is robust and satisfying – the perfect choice for a simple meal on a cold day. Generous spoonfuls of fresh raita bring a terrific contrast in flavour and texture to the soup, which is finished with fried curried onion. Naan or pita bread mop up both soup and raita.

Classic gazpacho

Classic gazpacho

This traditional Spanish soup is full of wonderfully fresh flavours and packed with vitamins as all the vegetables are raw. Cool and refreshing, it is the ideal choice for a simple lunch or midsummer supper, with some crusty country–style bread or rolls. Or serve it as a starter on a warm evening.

Artichoke soup with caraway

Artichoke soup with caraway

Looking like knobbly new potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes have a distinctive, yet delicate, flavour that goes well with other root vegetables, particularly in a smooth–textured soup. Sweetly aromatic caraway seeds complement the vegetable flavours perfectly.

Borsch with crunchy mash

Borsch with crunchy mash

Guaranteed to beat off the winter blues, this hearty beetroot soup is served with creamy mashed potatoes enlivened with crunchy raw vegetables. There are as many types of borsch as there are cooks in Eastern Europe – this puréed version retains every gram of goodness.

Broccoli soup with salmon cakes

Broccoli soup with salmon cakes

Salmon goes so well with broccoli and watercress, complementing their flavours and contrasting prettily with their vibrant green colour. Here the fish is combined with potato and dill in miniature cakes that are delicious served in this fresh vegetable soup.

Celeriac and spinach soup

Celeriac and spinach soup

Celeriac makes a rich soup with lots of flavour and a creamy texture. Baby spinach leaves complement the celeriac beautifully, bringing vibrant colour and a light, fresh taste to the soup in the final minutes of cooking.

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